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Saturday, January 22, 2011
Jason Kidd: Melo should stay in West

By Mike Mazzeo
Special to

NEWARK, N.J. -- Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd says he hasn't paid much attention to the Melo Drama, nor spoken to Carmelo Anthony since Denver Nuggets superstar was rumored to be on the verge of being traded to Kidd's former team, the New Jersey Nets.

"I haven't talked to Melo," Kidd said Saturday night before his Mavericks took on the Nets at the Prudential Center. "The only time I've talked to him is when we played them. And when I was guarding him, I asked him to slow down."

The Nets franchise reached the height of its success after it acquired Kidd in a blockbuster trade from the Phoenix Suns. Kidd took the Nets from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to the top, leading New Jersey to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2001-02 -- his first season with the team -- and 2002-03. The Nets also made the playoffs from 2003-04 to 2006-07, but they haven't been back since dealing Kidd to the Mavericks during the 2007-08 season.

"I think it will [turn around for the Nets]," Kidd said. "You have to be patient. You have a free-agent class coming up. They have a new owner, new coach, so I think you have to be patient. At the same time, you have to have a little luck too, so hopefully things will turn for the better for the Nets."

Ironically, of course, the Nets missed out in this season's free-agent class, failing to land LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or Rudy Gay. Instead they settled on Travis Outlaw and Johan Petro, who have each failed to live up to their contracts.

Kidd says the Nets will have to finish building their arena in Brooklyn, N.Y., before free agents consider joining them there in 2012.

Kidd says not having a building causes players to wonder whether it will ever be completed.

The Nets are playing at the Prudential Center in Newark this season and next.

The organization has said it plans to open its new Barclays Center in Brooklyn in 2012.

At 12-31, the Nets own the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. That's why they made a major effort to try to acquire Anthony, the three-time NBA All-Star who is averaging 23.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.

But details of a potential three-team, multi-player trade became public, and Nets owner Mikhail Prohkorov, frustrated how the constant rumors and speculation was negatively affecting his team, decided to pull the Nets out of the running for Anthony's services.

"That's the NBA," Kidd said. "There's gonna be trades. There's gonna be superstars traded. But, I haven't watched this one or paid much attention to it, so you guys would know more than I do."

When the Nets were granted permission by the NBA to meet with Anthony in an effort to attempt to convince him to sign a three-year, $65 million extension, Kidd thought a trade was imminent and would probably come to fruition.

"Well, when the league gets permission for two teams to talk, I've never seen that before," said Kidd, although a reporter pointed out that the Boston Celtics had been granted similar permission to speak with Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Garnett before coming to an agreement on an extend-and-trade. "You would've thought a deal was happening."

Kidd believes the Anthony saga may not be resolved until the trade deadline.

"That's the only way it can be solved," Kidd said. "At the end of the day, he's gonna be [in Denver] or he's not.

"For him, it's a tough situation because he probably thought he was going somewhere, and now it doesn't look like that's happening."

If Kidd were his adviser, he said he'd tell Anthony to stay on the West Coast.

"I wouldn't want him to go East," Kidd said. "But if he wants to go back home to New York or if this is as close as he can get is Jersey, then you wish him the best. But you look at the Eastern Conference, there's some talent over on this side. Jersey, New York, whoever gets him. Because somebody's gonna get him in the summertime. So we'll see what happens.

"I'd tell him to stay in the West, because everyone went East last summer," he added. "[My teammate] Dirk [Nowitzki] was the only one who stayed."

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to Information from The Association Press was used in this report.